If there is one thing I’m finding to be true here in India, it is that you have to learn to roll with the punches. Time is fluid, not an exact science. Plans change in the blink of an eye. As someone who is usually in control of my own schedule and making the plans for everyone around me, it is surprisingly freeing to have no control and wait on others to tell me where to go, what to eat and many times not even be told what is coming next. First I was told I’d be riding back to Ooty with Mala, then that changed to tagging along in Catherine’s full car.
But neither of those happened and I now find myself travelling down the mountain in a mini-bus with 18 men and women who work for Freedom Firm in some capacity: social workers, admin, undercover investigators, lawyers. The guys in the back of the mini-bus yell up to the driver when they want a new song put on. I never know what they are saying, but the music goes back and forth between blaring American 90’s pop songs and popular Hindi songs that they sing along with.
If I’m honest, I feel like I’m in a movie. How did I get here? I’m a mom with 2 young kids living in the suburbs of Chicago. My day consists of laundry, playdates, refereeing sibling squabbles, baths, homework, soccer games and bedtimes. The days I get to work in my role as the U.S. Rep. for Freedom Firm breaks up the monotony and challenges me in an exciting way. But, I’m a suburban soccer mom. And yet, here I am, driving down a mountain in a mini-bus in Southern India listening to a group of people sing along in Hindi. I smile to myself and wonder at what other surprises God will have for me on this trip.
We arrive at the Freedom Firm office in Ooty and take a look around at where our staff comes to work every day. Upstairs is the Ruhamah workshop and I love being able to see where our rescued girls work to create the stunning jewelry I promote over in the U.S. as part of my job. Two of the Ruhamah employees walk in and my heart leaps as I finally get to meet the girls on the other side of the world that God has broken my heart for. Rani* is smiling from ear to ear and saying something I don’t understand to Catherine. I had no idea when I got dressed that morning that I would be putting on a pair of earrings that Rani had made, but it was fun to see her excitement at seeing them on me!
I talk with the girls over a big bag of chips while Catherine translates between us. They show me a bulletin board full of sample earrings they make in this workshop and their faces light up as I touch certain ones and tell them what American women think of them. “This one is my favorite”, I say. Karishma* smiles because she makes that pair. “This one is my best seller”, I say about another pair. That one is Rani’s. On and on we go. I touch a pair and compliment them on the quality of their work. And I can see the pride in their eyes as I share. Pride. Two girls who have been abused, broken and deemed worthless by many stand before me feeling proud of themselves. Proud of their work. Proud to have a job and make their own way in the world.
After a short time of shopping in Ooty, I look to my right and notice a little goat walking right next to me. I smile and look at Asha next to me and say “I’ve never seen that before.” Her mouth falls open, her eyes get big and she says with great surprise, “You’ve never seen a goat before?” I can’t help but laugh. “No, I’ve seen goats. But they don’t usually walk on the roads with us.” And now I feel like I’m in a movie again! Thank you, God, for these moments that aren’t necessary on my trip, but make it a lot of fun!
I get back on the mini-bus to head to Greg & Mala’s home for the night. It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted! But my heart feels full. The workshop, the girls– this is what I tell people in America about during presentations and jewelry parties. To see the work, to put my arm around the girls and watch the staff love on them. The only word to describe my heart is full.
*Names changed to protect identity
--Becky Morris, FFUSA Staff